Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Collateral Damage

aghavan was in the meeting when his cell phone beeped once to signal the arrival of a text message. He looked up at his manager who was making a presentation and he figured there was at least another thirty minutes of his monologue left. He slid back in his chair ever so slightly to glance at his cell phone without attracting the attention of others in the room.

When are you coming back? Call me ASAP. Anju.

Anjali! Just the thought of his fiancee transported him from the meeting room right next to her. Oh, how he wished he was sitting next to her instead of being stuck in this boring meeting hundreds of miles away!

He quickly typed in a text message to her that he would call back within the hour.

* * *
“Hi Anju!”

“You have to come back immediately!”

“Why? What happened?”


Anjali started sobbing. Raghavan was knocked off balance by her sudden sobbing and felt helpless listening to the love of his life weeping on the phone.

“Anju, stop crying and tell me what happened?”

“I’m pregnant!”

Raghavan was surprised, but relieved. Their night of passion a few weeks ago had created what he now considered to be a storm in a teacup.

“Is that all? Darling, don’t worry about it even for a second! I love you. You believe that, right?”

“Hmm…” She sniffled.

“I will be catching the train tonight, dear. I will see you soon.” He reassured her.

“I love you!”

He could sense that she felt relieved talking to him.

* * *
The taxi stopped at the station and Raghavan got down with his bag. He picked up a magazine at the newsstand and a bottle of water. He looked up at the departure displays to find the platform and his train wasn’t listed yet. There was still time left.

He picked a place to sit down and started to read the magazine. The voice of the announcer on the public address system could be heard amidst the buzz of the station.

He had read through just a few pages of the magazine when the lone gunman started shooting indiscriminately at passengers. The water bottle rolled on the floor for a few feet before it stopped near the blood-stained magazine that bore two bullet holes.

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